GIVE ME THAT OLD-TIME CONSTITUTION

THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND INDUSTRY OVER PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS HAS TAKEN ON A RELIGIOUS FERVOR

Furthermore, Hatch claims that Arnold threatened him: "He said if I did anything to hurt the Unification Church that he would come after me." And he claims that Arnold did, in fact, spread false rumors about his political and personal associations.

If there are questions about links between Ron Arnold's Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and the Moonies, there are no doubts about the center's ties to the highest levels of the Republican party. Arnold's partner, Gottlieb, has widely circulated a photograph of himself with President Bush. Arnold brags about his connections to David McIntosh of the Council on Competitiveness and to various congressmen, including Senator Symms, who championed the unsuccessful national property rights bill. Mark Pollot, a former Justice Department attorney who co-wrote Reagan's executive order and the Symms bill, takes case referrals from the center. "Is that influence at the highest levels?" Arnold asks gleefully. "You tell me."

Arnold argues that the purpose of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise is not to lobby, but to educate and disseminate information. His Arizona mailing list is a who's who of 1053 supporters: executives at Stone Forest, Phelps Dodge and the Farm Bureau, the NRA, the Arizona Cattlemen's Association and ACCORD, the Arizona Citizen's Coalition on Resource Decisions. ACCORD is not really a citizens' group, but rather a consortium headed by Bruce Whiting of Kaibab Industries and comprising three other timber companies, mining, farming and ranching associations, off-road enthusiasts, the Lincoln Caucus (which has sponsored antienvironmental conferences and collaborates with the American Freedom Coalition) and several other like-minded organizations.

Officially, they all distance themselves from Arnold; Mark Killian calls him an extremist. Unofficially, it's a different story. Killian has quoted Arnold in articles he's written about the Arizona property rights bill. And ACCORD newsletters feature nuggets of his wisdom as "Quotable Quotes from Ron Arnold." ACCORD also sent a letter of sponsorship to the Wise Use conference in Reno last June, which was held to coincide with and parody the Earth Summit.

"I think what Ron Arnold has done is to give those people ideas on how to fight back, how to play the legislative game," says Killian of ACCORD's members. For his part, Arnold thinks his side has won at least one battle in Arizona. "We're sending copies of the Arizona legislation to everybody we know," he says delightedly.

@rule:
@body:But the war is far from over. Common Cause and Sierra Club canvassers collected 71,669 signatures on petitions, almost 20,000 more than they needed to bring 1053 to a vote in the 1994 general election.

Killian has threatened to challenge the petitions. "I believe many of the signatures were obtained under false pretenses," he says, claiming that canvassers told signers that the bill repealed all antipollution laws. And though Killian has suggested he would be willing to sit down with his opponents to hammer out a compromise, the environmentalists fear he'll nickel-and-dime them with more antienvironmental legislation to keep them occupied.

Meanwhile, Killian has talked to Linda Francisco, the freelance campaign director who led the withering crossfire against Proposition 200, the steel-trap bill. She may soon aim her infantry in defense of 1053.

But environmentalists have launched a flanking maneuver and are trying to use the bill against its own backers. Phoenix environmental attorney Stephanie Lake has cited 1053 on behalf of Morristown citizens trying to stop an Australian company from strip-mining across the Hassayampa River from their homes (Mine Shafted," July 22). Lake argued that if state agencies issued permits to the mine, property values would plummet.

While confusion reigned in the Capitol, an Apache County judge quietly wrote the first takings ruling based on SB 1053.

@rule:
@body:In St. Johns in July, a pair of ranchers who are also lawyers cited the new bill in a dispute with the state Land Department over their grazing lease, and a Superior Court judge ruled partially in their favor.

It was clearly a premeditated act--Jay Platt, one of the two complainants, had testified on behalf of 1053 in Senate hearings. The case may have been motivated more by symbolism than finances, by what their lawyer melodramatically referred to as the "unconscionable, onerous, unlawful and unconstitutional provisions of the . . . lease."

Platt and his brothers control more than 100,000 acres in the rolling, red badlands east of St. Johns. Half of it is private, deeded land, one-third is leased state land and the rest is leased from the Bureau of Land Management. His uncle Earl controls 207,000 acres that break down into roughly the same proportions of private, state and BLM land.

The state demands access to its lands, but because the private and public lands are "checkerboarded," it would be necessary to cross the Platts' private property in order to get to the leased state parcels. "In theory," says Jay Platt, "the state could take the opinion that if they give a license to a hunter, he would be a licensee of the state" and virtually free to walk unrestricted across Platt land. "We said that was a taking."

Judge Michael Nelson, Superior Court judge in Apache County, disagreed, and he decided not to rule on the dispute. But he did rule in the Platts' favor on another alleged taking, a clause limiting compensation to the ranchers if a parcel of the state land were condemned. If, for example, the federal government wanted to put a highway through, the state would have to reimburse the rancher only for the unused time on the lease and for any improvements made. The Platts argued that they were entitled to severance damages, as well. If they were not compensated for damage done to the operation of the ranch as a whole if a piece were taken out, it would be a taking. Judge Nelson agreed.

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